How long before dawn?
We have an hour or so!
How long exactly?
Sixty eight minutes.
Sixty eight minutes. What will happen then? Will you fade as the dawn creeps in through the window and the first rays of light claim you, take you from me? Will you disappear in a cloud of smoke, like a magician’s assistant in a well practiced illusion? Perhaps you melt like a dream on waking, impossible to grasp, impossible to remember? Will the warmth of your body linger on my sheets, on my skin or will it leave me cold? Will your scent lose colour quickly or will it wilt slowly like an orchard starved of water?
Do you want to know?
No, let’s not dwell on the inevitable any longer. Let me gaze upon your young face, soak it up; it’s been so long since I saw it last.
What do you see?
I see life and promise spread out before you. Only dreams lay in either direction; you are too young to know real pain or disappointment. I see what a photograph can never capture; your eyes are full of expression, so lively, inquisitive, flirtatious and of a blue so rare that God keeps the recipe under lock and key. I see your mouth, lustful, womanly and enticing. A kiss, promiscuous and warm tempts me from your lips, promises me oblivion; I’ll take the kiss and float suspended, bodiless, ageless, mindless. I see thoughts pass before your eyes that never make it to your lips, a longing ill-equipped to make fruition? Or perhaps it’s a dreadful secret, something so sinister should it come to the surface it would overwhelm you, suffocate you completely. It could be doubt clocked in black, hands in pockets, shoulders hunched that rushes past; he only needs a second after all, the weasel that he is. Then again I might be reading it wrong; is it regret I see gnawing at your soul?
You know it is.
I see love for me, so much love for me. Where does this love come from? Who in the world is denied love because there must be some sort of cosmic balance? Who sits bereft of love so that I can receive so much?
There are many. They are not denied love; they reject love. They can’t bear the pain. They witnessed love once from afar and thought, ‘This is not for me.’ I saw a vacancy, a gap in the market, all this unused love floating about with nowhere to go. I decided to soak it up and use it on you. Any left-over love I sell back into the national grid. You wouldn’t believe how much surplus love there is in the world; so many people seem to function perfectly well without it. I can’t bear to see love going to waste.
How you tease me! An old man as well; you should be ashamed. What do you see now – an old man, past his prime, jaded and foolish and flawed?
I see the man I fell in love with. He is gentle, caring, funny and bright; the man who won my heart without a fight. I’m so sorry it couldn’t last.
I wanted one more fling, one more weekend by the lake; a farewell to foolishness, to loneliness and uncertainty.
They said that the lake was dredged and no bodies were ever found. I held onto the idea that you might still be out there somewhere.
I went swimming at night with a bellyful of gin and sank to the bottom of the lake. I felt so desperate, so foolish, I could only think of you. I just felt this overwhelming sense of loss; I’d lost you. There came a point when I knew that, despite myself, I was not going to make it back to the surface. I wanted to of course, but couldn’t find my way back. As my lungs took on water panic found her way out, left me in peace. I knew I had to give into death so I just let go and drifted for a while. I lived the life we would have had; I saw it all before I died. It was wonderful.
And when you died?
I had so much love. There was no more pain. I drifted.
My whole life has been in your memory. I have climbed mountains and swum oceans and battled demons in your name.
I know. Thank you. Hold me now.
How long before dawn?
I’ll hold you and kiss you some more.
I feel warm
Will I see you again?
I don’t know? I’m to take you with me.
Out into the dawn
I’m glad its you.